A fight is brewing in the seaside community of Bowser, where the Regional District of Nanaimo is considering building a sewage outfall in the ocean. The beaches there are pristine and popular with tourists and wildlife. Neighbours are now banding together to stop the plan that would make way for big development there. Skye Ryan reports.
Walking the beach near Bowser, in front of his waterfront home, Brian Field watches the west coast come alive every day.
“This is raw beauty here, eagles, seagulls, pristine ocean water,” said Field.
However, Field is worried. He and his neighbours have just learned the Regional District of Nanaimo has designs to build a sewage outfall in the ocean in front of their Bowser area homes, to service the increasing demand for housing in the picturesque community.
“This is crazy,” said Field. “There could not be a worse location. If you were to try to find the worst possible location, they chose it.”
The sewer would be for a proposed higher density development in Bowser. That development has 99 units, which cannot have a septic system like other homes in the area, due to the area’s restrictions.
“There just weren’t suitable soils,” said the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Manager of Community Development Geoff Garbutt. “There’s very challenging geotechnical issues in that area as well as issues with groundwater.”
The Regional District of Nanaimo is now petitioning residents of Bowser asking them if they want to develop a sewer service. If they choose no, the outfall is out. But residents who would distantly see the outflow in front of their homes aren’t in the voting area.
“If it wasn’t for my next door neighbour I would have heard nothing about it. Nothing.” said Field.
“The environment’s under threat, the property values on this beach are under threat,” said resident Tom Gates. “Just our whole way of life is under threat.”
Residents are holding a meeting at Lighthouse Community Centre at 7 p.m. Thursday to talk about how they plan to fight the outfall.